Quick & easy aubergine lasagne (no sauce)


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This delicious quick and easy lasagne is made with aubergine, red pesto, mozzarella and NO SAUCE. It will change your idea of what makes a good vegetarian lasagne. It could make a perfect romantic meal for two just as easily as a simple midweek meal option for the whole family. You have to try it!

Freestyle eggplant lasagna on a white plate with another plate and glasses in the background

Lasagne … what comes to mind when you think of it?

I must admit, I usually don’t hold it in particularly high regard. Not because it isn’t a great dish – I think it’s just delicious when it’s done well – but because a good 80% of the lasagnas I’ve had have been either too sloppy, too dry, too bland, too greasy, just too ‘eighties’ … well, you get the idea. Always too something.

And the vegetarian lasagnes I’ve had? Uh-hum. I’d better not even go there.

Hold the sauce! It’s a freestyle lasagne!

Not only is this a pretty healthy and tasty vegetarian lasagna, but it’s ‘freestyle’, meaning that you just layer up these simple ingredients:

  • single squares of pasta
  • grilled veggies
  • cheese (of course)
  • homemade sundried tomato pesto (or good quality shop bought)
  • basil

How to make a quick and easy aubergine lasagne

No need to make any sauce or bake this for an hour. Just grill the veggies, make your pesto, layer up with the cheese and briefly bake.

freestyle eggplant lasagna on a baking tray before going into the oven.
Layer up all the ingredients on a baking tray

I don’t want to mislead you, however.

I must say that this does still take a little effort to make – mostly because you may have to grill your vegetables in a couple of batches.

But it’s really easy – definitely easier than a regular lasagne. You might also think that it’s a hassle to make your own pesto. If you wanted to put this together really, really quickly, you could use a good store-bought version, of course, but it honestly took me just minutes to make my own.

Another good reason to make the pesto is that you’ll only use about half of it, leaving the other half to stir through pasta on another day!

How to serve your easy aubergine lasagne

This is a pretty light meal, so great for a classy lunch. Or you could serve it with some green salad leaves and maybe garlic bread for a more substantial meal.

Freestyle eggplant lasagna on a black baking tray from above.

What’s the best vegetarian lasagne you’ve ever eaten? Have you ever eaten it ‘freestyle’ before? I really hope you give this one a go! 🙂

Interested in making a more traditional aubergine lasagne? Try this one instead!

More amazing Mediterranean recipes that you must try!

Or browse all my Mediterranean recipes here



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A freestyle eggplant lasagna on a white plate with a fork on a white background with a dark blue cloth and wine glasses.
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Quick and easy aubergine lasagne (no sauce)

Lasagne might hark back to the 80s and 90s, and you might not have the greatest memories of it, but trust me, this vegetarian aubergine lasagne breaks the mould … in a good way. It's easy to make, light, healthy, and there's no sauce. It's delicious too, of course!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 2 medium-sized eggplant, aubergine, sliced into fairly thick slices
  • 1 large red onion, sliced into about 8 slices
  • olive oil for brushing & a bit more for drizzling at the end
  • 4 sheets fresh lasagna
  • 1 ball mozzarella, sliced into 8 pieces
  • grated parmesan cheese, about a handful
  • sundried tomato pesto, see below
  • a small bunch of fresh basil

for the sundried tomato pesto

  • 3/4 cup sundried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • a handful of pinenuts or walnuts, I used walnuts as they’re cheaper!
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, about ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1.75 ounces parmesan cheese, grated

to serve (optional)

  • fresh green salad leaves and/or garlic bread


  • Heat up the broiler (grill – UK), then lay the eggplant and onion slices on a broiler pan (grill pan), brush them with a little oil and broil/grill for about 5 minutes or until nicely browned. Then turn over, brush over a little more oil and cook for another 5 minutes on the other side, or until nice and soft. Transfer to a plate and put aside*.
  • Meanwhile, boil the lasagna sheets for a few minutes, then drain and cut in half to make squares. Finally, put into a dish and pour over a bit of oil to stop them sticking.
  • Make the pesto by whizzing up all the ingredients in a food processor. Slowly add a bit of water until you get a nice smooth paste.
  • Preheat your oven to 175C/350F. Now assemble your lasagnas. Lay four squares of pasta on a lightly-oiled baking tray and top with a couple of slices of eggplant, a slice of onion, a torn-up piece of mozzarella, a sprinkle of parmesan, a good heaped teaspoon of pesto and a torn-up basil leaf or two.
  • Lay another pasta square on top (at an angle to the first), then top with more vegetables, cheese, pesto and basil. Bake for ten minutes.
  • To serve, drizzle over a bit of olive oil and top with a final sprig of basil. Eat with fresh green salad leaves (and garlic bread, if you like).


Thanks to Waitrose for the inspiration for this recipe! (adapted)


Don’t worry if your onion slices sort of fall apart a bit after they’re cooked!


You’ll find that there’s plenty of pesto left over when you make these lasagnas, so don’t forget to stir it through hot pasta later in the week.
If you like, pan-fry some chopped chicken and bacon to add to the pan, too (just remember to add a bit of the pasta cooking water to make the dish nice and loose and silky). Bonus – 2 meals in 1!


Calories: 403kcal, Carbohydrates: 44g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 39mg, Sodium: 270mg, Potassium: 973mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 435IU, Vitamin C: 28.5mg, Calcium: 193mg, Iron: 2.7mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Helen Schofield

Don't expect to find anything fussy or complicated here. Just QUICK, EASY & (mostly!) HEALTHY recipes from the Mediterranean and beyond. ENJOY!

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  1. Absolutely a big yes that this is dinner party worthy! We love lasagne here and versions like this would be very welcomed in this house 😀

  2. This is a perfect alternative to lasagna! Love lasagna, but very rarely have it (don’t know why). But I cook with eggplant all the time and will definitely try this recipe! Pinned of course!

  3. i haven’t made lasagna ins forever. and you are right. it can be “sloppy” with certain noodles. But eggplant, yes, that a winner! Must try!

    1. Hope you do try it, Lindsay, and as the lovely Kathleen above reminded me, it’s very customizable! 🙂

  4. Ha! I remember those lasagnas of the 80’s. I totally agree with you – the bad one’s are just bad and the good ones take a lot of time and lots of pots. So I’m really loving this freestyle lasagna you’ve created. And I love that it’s customizable too! Pinned and Yumed, of course.

    1. I guess this would be really customizable – I should have put that in the post! Thanks, Kathleen, for the pins and yums! 🙂

  5. I’ve had my share of greasy, overly cheesy lasagnas…bleh. I don’t make it often because it is time consuming, but it’s so worth it when it’s done! I love this freestyle version — it’s just genius, Helen! Eggplant makes this so hearty, and that sundried tomato pesto sounds amazing!

    1. Thank you so much, Marcie! I agree that a traditional lasagna done well is well worth the time and effort, but for those days when I can’t be bothered i.e. most days, I’ll take this!

  6. Helen! I love this! It’s like lasagna re-constructed 🙂 Really gorgeous!!! LOVE LOVE this! And I am a huge fan of lasagna with grilled veggies! FYI as a short cut Trader Joes has these killer frozen grilled veggies that I use in my veggie lasagna when I am short on time!

    1. Oh, the frozen grilled veggies are such a wonderful idea, Mila! I’m not sure if we can get those in the UK, but I should add it to my post notes for you US readers! Thank you! 🙂

  7. I love your modern take on the lasagna and I totally agree about how hard it is to get it just right. The pesto sounds amazing. Great dish.

  8. These look like such delicious little aubergine stacks. I only like aubergine when cooked certain ways and this is one of the ways I like it 🙂

    1. Thank you, Dannii! Really hope you’re still enjoying your trip (of course you are!)

  9. Lasagna’s take for ever. But this one I could so easily get behind. In fact I am pinning it for one autumn evening.